Literary Architecture Revisited

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA 2018)
contact email: 

Following Ellen Eve Frank's Literary Architecture (1979), this panel seeks historically-situated papers that investigate the narrative capabilities of architecture, particularly lived-in architecture. Taking Frank's principle question of how architecture can embody consciousness within literature, this panel expands the scope of her analysis. Although the “spatial turn” in literary studies has produced a great response, its focus regarding architecture specifically as a constructed form that interprets a given space is somewhat lacking. This panel invites projects that work to close that gap and produce a discussion that maps out connections between constructed spaces and the self. What is the relationship between the subject and its built environment? Does that relationship change when both subject and environment are only fictional, as opposed to real? Architecture is both an aesthetic practice and, within the realm of literature, a conscious symbolic choice—how do we read its influence on narrative action, actors? Drawing on studies in the Anthropocene as well as architectural and literary history, this panel is interested in those questions of action: who built a structure, who is it for, who lives there, how is it navigated, what are its boundaries, and how does all this come across in the text?

Papers on literature from any time period or country of origin are welcome; papers on works that feature both a departure and return journey to their respective architectures, discussing whether revisitation is somehow tied to spatial understanding, are particularly welcome.

To submit a 300 word abstract, use NeMLA's online system:

Please also submit a brief bio or CV; questions can be directed to